FOUR IFBB ELITE PRO CARDS AWARDED

Wellness winner and new IFBB Elite Pro Jade Packer.

Wellness winner and new IFBB Elite Pro Jade Packer.

IFBB English Grand Prix International – Day 1

by John Plummer

Photography by Kevin Horton

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Four IFBB Elite Pro cards were awarded on the first day of a highly competitive IFBB English Grand Prix in Reading. And there was plenty to cheer for the home crowd, with UK athletes winning all of the pro cards on offer.

It was a great effort from the UK team in the face of strong overseas competition.

The UK winners were Olga Upelniece, Jade Packer, Calvin Rhun and Andrei-Alexandru Adam, who now have to decide whether or not to take up the opportunity to go pro.

Day 2 tomorrow sees bodybuilding and bikini fitness take centre stage.

The bodybuilding classes promise to be competitive, with some top UK guys set to take on some tough international athletes, who haven't flown all this way just to make up the numbers.

With three busy bikini fitness height classes and overall showdowns too, it promises to be an exciting day.

Spectator tickets cost £10 and can be bought on the door at The Hexagon.

Here's a breakdown of today's action.

Bodyfitness top 3: 1 Olga Upelniece (centre); 2 Victoria Crewe (left) 3 Briony Farlow

Bodyfitness top 3: 1 Olga Upelniece (centre); 2 Victoria Crewe (left) 3 Briony Farlow

BODYFITNESS

The UK swept the board in over 163cm bodyfitness. The lady with red hair, Briony Farlow, continued to impress with her effervescent stage presence and lovely flowing shape as she took bronze. A best ever Victoria Crewe was second – this woman has made serious gains, her conditioning was excellent and her legs had real wow factor. But who can stop Olga Upelniece?

Few competitors worldwide can have won more trophies than Olga in the last year, and it's easy to see why. She has such lovely clean lines, is balanced from all angles and somehow always comes in lean. This was a first class line-up and a great demonstration of the growing strength of the division in the UK.

Spain dominated the up to 163 cm division. The winner, Jasmine Sanchez, looked carved to perfection from marble, with great detail throughout. The highest place British athlete was bronze medallist Bilyana Topolova, last year's British Championships runner-up in bikini fitness, who has stepped up to this more muscular division. Bilyana gave another fabulous display of symmetry but was just slightly lacking in size. With such quality, surely it is only a matter of time before her pro card arrives.

Olga went on to defeat Jasmine for the overall title and the opportunity to turn pro. It is her third chance to become a pro this year but she is once again set to decline as she focuses on earning points towards this year's IFBB $300,000 World Ranking for amateur athletes.


MEN'S PHYSIQUE

Calvin Rhun is known for his smile and he can rarely have worn a broader one than he did today after his name was announced as the overall champion and new IFBB Elite Pro.

Calvin once again used his aesthetics to slay bigger men, showing what quality lines and sharp conditioning is all about, as he was cheered to victory by the Yorky's Gym crew.

He first took the up to 173 cm line-up, relegating highly rated junior Kleris Zoga into second, before beating the other two height class winners for the pro card.

Kleris had the consolation of gold in the juniors. Runner-up Ogbjen Petrovic, of Iceland, had excellent balance for a tall guy, with striking abs. Third place Angelo Szoma had a super taper.

Mr Consistent Abdulrahman Aloumi was sharp as ever in the up to 179cm class and had the cleanest lines but the judges went for the extra muscularity of Paraguayan Mario Paez, who was certainly ripped. Kuwait's Abdullalif Al-Rujaib rounded out a top three that featured three guys from three continents.

France featured strongly in men's physique. Pierre-Martin Murcia's crazy taper down to a chiselled midsection earned victory over Spain's Norberto Benitez in the over 179 cm height class.

His shredded compatriot, Jean-Phillipe Cesari, who packed some impressive shoulders, took the masters category ahead of Spain's Norberto Benitez. The aesthetic Dave Walters was the highest UK athlete in fifth.

WELLNESS

Jade Packer has made a big impact on the UK wellness scene in a short period of time. She finished third at the British Championships in her debut season last year and now she's eligible for a pro card.

Jade has a highly athletic look for the class, with a lean and tapered upper body while still possessing those voluminous wellness legs. She led a British one-two-three in the tall height class, overcoming Karin Pienaar, who once again impressed, and the wonderful shape of Angelika Prejna, before defeating Spain's Catuxa Vazquez for the overall.

Catuxa and Catia Moreira, of Luxembourg, fought a close battle in the short height class, with the UK's Becky Wright hot on their high heels in third.


CLASSIC PHYSIQUE

Classic king Andrei-Alexandru Adam.

Classic king Andrei-Alexandru Adam.

This class was a treat for those who appreciate seeing old school, beautifully balanced physiques well presented. The level of conditioning was incredible – every man on stage had clearly dieted hard and put lots of effort into their presentation. The last man standing was Andrei-Alexandru Adam, who appropriately had the best shape in the line-up. His back was particularly impressive.


WOMEN'S PHYSIQUE

UK winner Phoebe Black brought an eye-catching combination of muscle, tattoos and conditioning to the stage. Phoebe has been steadily improving over the last two years, and finished fourth at last year's UKBFF British Championships. She is tall and if she can fill out a little more there's no reason she can't continue her upwards trajectory.

RESULTS

IFBB ELITE PRO CARD WINNERS
OVERALL BODYFITNESS CHAMPION

OLGA UPELNIECE – UK


OVERALL MEN'S PHYSIQUE CHAMPION

CALVIN RHUN - UK


OVERALL WELLNESS CHAMPION

JADE PACKER – UK


CLASSIC PHYSIQUE CHAMPION

ANDREI-ALEXANDRU ADAM – UK


Masters Men's Physique

1 Jean-Phillipe Cesari - France

2 Norberto Benitez - Spain

3 Dave Walters - UK

4 Davide Nuzzo - UK

5 Alexander Brimelow - UK


Junior Men's Physique

1 Kleris Zoga - UK

2 Ogbjen Petrovic - Iceland

3 Angelo Szoma - UK


Masters Bodyfitness

1 Olga Upelniece - UK

2 Victoria Crewe - UK

3 Briony Farlow - UK

4 Rosario Guillen - Spain

5 Clare Hunt - UK

6 Vladimira Zeravikova – Czech Republic


Women's Physique

1 Phoebe Black - UK


Men's Physique up to 173cm

1 Calvin Rhun - UK

2 Kleris Zoga - UK

3 Aitor Rodriguez - Spain

4 Rui Pereira - UK

5 Kishan Patel - UK

6 Paul Liam - UK

also competed: Mustafa Erdura and Joshua Ajibola


Bodyfitness up to 163 cm

1 Jasmine Sanchez - Spain

2 Miralys Urbano - Spain

3 Bilyana Topolova - UK

4 Rosario Guillen - Spain

5 Julianna Lawrence - UK


Men's Physique up to 179 cm

1 Mario Paez - Paraguay

2 Abdulrahman Aloumi - UK

3 Abdullalif Al-Rujaib - Kuwait

4 Dave Walters - UK

5 Carl Harpa - UK

6 Jordan Lennon - UK


Bodyfitness

1 Olga Upelniece - UK

2 Victoria Crewe - UK

3 Briony Farlow - UK

4 Vladimira Zeravikova – Czech Republic


Men's Physique over 179 cm

1 Pierre-Martin Murcia – France

2 Norberto Benitez – Spain

3 Ognjen Petrovic – Iceland

4 Angelo Szoma – UK

5 Reza Rezamand – UK


Wellness up to 158 cm

1 Catuxa Vazquez – Spain

2 Catia Moreira – Luxembourg

3 Becky Wright – UK

4 Lorenza Elphick - Malta

5 Maneeta Virdi – UK


Wellness over 158 cm

1 Jade Packer – UK

3 Angelika Prejna – UK

2 Karin Pienaar – UK

4 Karolina Kangaskolkka – Finland


Classic Physique

1 Andrei-Alexandru Adam – UK

2 Sando Csaba – Hungary

3 Ricardo Vera - Spain

4 Martin Dostal – Czech Republic

5 Jose-Luis Fernandez – Spain

6 Piotr Urban – UK